A man who beat a transgender woman in broad daylight in Dallas was offered $200 to carry out the attack, which may be deemed a hate crime, police said.
The victim, Muhlaysia Booker, was repeatedly punched and kicked Friday by a group of men, as captured in video footage of the incident.
One suspect, 29-year-old Edward Thomas, has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Police told BuzzFeed News they are also working to identify additional suspects in the case.
The incident began after Booker accidentally backed into a suspect’s car and attempted to flee, according to an affidavit obtained by BuzzFeed News. The suspect allegedly ran her off the road to stop her, and then threatened her with a gun unless she paid for the damages.
According to the affidavit, and as can be heard in the video, someone offered Thomas $200 to beat up Booker following the minor car accident.
As he and several other men beat her, Thomas and others in the crowd yelled, “That’s what your faggot ass gets,” “Get that faggot out of our hood,” and “Shoot that punk ass,” police said.
Booker suffered a fractured wrist, bruising and swelling of the face, and a concussion from being knocked unconscious, police said. Several women intervened, carried her away from the scene, and drove her to a hospital.
According to the affidavit, Thomas admitted to the beating, but denied shouting slurs at Booker.
At a news conference Monday, Dallas Police Lt. Vincent Weddington said the incident is “being reviewed to determine whether it meets the criteria for a hate crime.”
Weddington called the video of the incident “disturbing” and said it “shocks the conscience.”
“This is being taken very seriously in our department,” Weddington said.
Transgender people face very high rates of violence and homicide. In 2018, at least 26 transgender individuals — most of whom were black transgender women — were killed through acts of violence.
Booker, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, thanked her friends for their support in a Facebook post.
“THANK YOU TO ALL MY GENUINE FRIENDS THAT BEEN WITH ME THROUGH THIS JOURNEY AND KNOWING THE REAL ME KNOWING NOBODY DESERVES THAT ❤️,” she wrote.
Also on Facebook, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he is “extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman.”
“Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community,” he wrote. “We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”